The Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft obtained its first spectral map of the satellite lapetus in which new absorption bands are seen in the spectra of both the low-albedo hemisphere and the H2O ice-rich hemisphere. Carbon dioxide is identified in the low-albedo material, probably as a photochemically produced molecule that is trapped in H2O ice or in some mineral or complex organic solid. Other absorption bands are unidentified. The spectrum of the low-albedo hemisphere is satisfactorily modeled with a combination of organic tholin, poly-HCN, and small amounts of H2O ice and Fe 2O3. The high-albedo hemisphere is modeled with H 2O ice slightly darkened with tholin. The detection of CO2 in the low-albedo material on the leading hemisphere supports the contention that it is carbon-bearing material from an external source that has been swept up by the satellite's orbital motion.
- Planets and satellites: individual (Iapetus)
- Solar system: formation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science